Building a Computer

Topics: Computer, Personal computer, Central processing unit Pages: 6 (2318 words) Published: May 21, 2002
With increasing popularity of computer games, and multimedia home PC users often need an unexpensive computer system upgrade. By building a custom computer one is able to combine componenets, and operating system to provide maximal gaming performance. Computers are often called number manipulators, because of their ability to run millions of mathematical operations per second (White 43). Computers use binary system of numbers, which allows them to operate system of microscopic switches called transistors found inside of computer chips. Binary system is defined as counting system that uses two digits one and zero (Gookin 49). A transistor is a basic building block of microchips; transistors are combined in formations called logic gates (White 39). "Transistor can only create binary information: one if current passes through or zero if current does not, to work with transistors"(White 39). Computer software uses Boolean logic, which is based on selecting true or false values used in computer programming (White 39). All personal computers have BIOS, which is an acronym for Basic Input Output System. The BIOS runs every time the computer is started, and it basically tells the computer how to act (White 19). The BIOS is a part of the boot up process, or a complex set of operations checking hardware that components are working properly. Besides BIOS and several other operations there is power–on self-test - POST being ran. POST test runs at the start up, and if it finds an error, it sends a warning message (White 5). Central processing unit – CPU is the most important part of the personal computer, all other components work as a bridge to CPU (White 59). The speed of the processor is usually defined by using units called megahertz (MHz, also million frequency waves per second). CPUs are generally divided into two categories- CISC and RISC. CISC – complex instruction set computing, uses many small instructions to carry out a single operations. CISC is a standard in today's processors. RISC – reduced instruction set computing, uses less complicated instructions with simpler design. RISC microprocessors are cheaper, they produce less heat, and they are generally smaller in size compared to CISC. With less heat and smaller size RISC processors have great advantage in reaching higher frequencies with less danger of overheating. The major disadvantage and also reason why RISC microprocessors are not widely used, is less compatibility with available software. The earlier programs were written for CISC chips. In order to reach maximal speed, and compatibility the major manufacturers of microprocessors such as Intel, use some advantages of RISC technology, to improve the performance of their CISC compatible microprocessors (White 55). Computer microprocessor is the most important part of the PC, but it can not work by it self. One of the few primary components is BUS, also called a highway of the computer. BUS transports data among the processor, random access memory, and hard disk. Speed of the BUS depends on the type of motherboard where it is installed (White 119). Random access memory- RAM is also attached to the motherboard- base of all the components, but unlike BUS, RAM can be easily removed and changed. Random access memory works as a staging area for the central processing unit (White 43). Capacity of random access memory is very important for the performance of a computer. In case there is not enough RAM the software can create space on the hard drive to be used as temporary operating memory (White 31). Random means that any part of the memory can be accessed at any time, it is not necessary to read all of the memory to find one location. RAM is usually fast, temporary memory where data is saved until removed or power is turned off on the computer (White 43). "A hard drive is the workaholic of a PC system."(White 87)) It is based on using magnetic plates; spinning at extreme speeds up to 7,200 rotations a minute, which are 120...
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